Tim Miller explains how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s age will factor into his reprisal of his role as the T-800 in Terminator 6. Schwarzenegger catapulted to stardom playing the iconic time-traveling character in James Cameron’s The Terminator in 1984 and again in Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. Although he managed to return for Jonathan Mostow’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, doing so again for Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genisys in 2015 brought up some issues regarding the actor’s age. After all, how could a machine succumb to human aging?
Shortly before Genisys hit theaters, Cameron explained that the reason Schwarzenegger was able to return and still play the T-800 is because the flesh covering the mechanical skeleton was real, something that Kyle Reese had explained in the original film. The T-800 is a cyborg; therefore, he’s able to physically age in order to blend in with others. While Genisys only focused on the physical aspect of the terminator’s aging process, Miller wants to take things a step further with the upcoming sequel.
Terminator 6 has been slated to release in July 2019, with Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the T-800 and Linda Hamilton coming back as Sarah Connor. While Hamilton’s age is a non-issue for the film since her character is human, Schwarzenegger’s age presents a problem for casual moviegoers. However, that’s something that Miller wants to fully embrace, telling THR:
“I haven’t talked to Arnold about this so I could get in trouble. But because he’s been in all the other movies — unlike Linda — I do think there needs to be a reason to be different here. I like my sci-fi grounded. I like my characters grounded. And what Jim said about the exterior aging while the interior remains the same — well, not the interior, as in the brain, as emotionally and intellectually he will have evolved. They’re learning machines. But that’s a way to make it different than it was. Even in Genisys, he looked — I should stop — he was a slightly gussied-up version of the old Terminator. I think we should embrace his age. And that’s what’s going to make it interesting and fresh for the fans.”
Cameron has previously talked about wanting to reinvent the franchise and provide something fresh for longtime fans. Of course, that reinvention could come in many forms, but Miller’s hope to have the T-800 age emotionally and intellectually, in addition to aging physically, will certainly turn the tables on the actor and character. It’ll not only differentiate the film from Genisys but also set the stage for future stories that could exist without Schwarzenegger, should he choose not to return for the rest of Cameron’s planned sequels.
In addition to focusing on the aging aspect of the story, Terminator 6 will also provide a backstory for the human basis of the T-800, something that hasn’t necessarily been explored in past chapters. Now, if everything goes according to plan, audiences may just have another Terminator trilogy on their hands.
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